Great Spa experience - good size pool for swimming,quality mineral water in the pool ( felt difference on my skin and hair within two days), great water temperature - suitable for soaking and swimming. For swimmers it is best to stay at this hotel when there are not too many people there as otherwise there are too many people soaking and playing which makes swimming impossible. I visited low season, in winter and it was just right for swimming. Families with kids seem to enjoy the place a lot. The air temperature throughout the hotel , wellness center and the spa center is perfect and makes it a really relaxing and enjoyable experience. It is comfortably warm and homely. The underground Spa center is very beautifully made and it looks like a 5 star experience. However the rooms are the equivalent of Western standard 3* with a few extras - like a cotton bathrobe( which was very useful) and a hairdryer. The carpet was worn out, not very clean, the walls were scuffed, the hot water kettle not working, there were no teabags, cups, no instant coffee sachets , no sugar and milk, no iron, - which is standard in other countries in 5 star hotels. Expectation is the mother of frustration and we were greatly disappointed with the room standard , we thought we were treating ourselves to a luxury hotel and it was the equivalent of a Western 3*. For a 3* room it was OK. Another negative experience was the coffee machine at breakfast. If i were the manager of this hotel I would immediately dispose of this machine. It produces a cheap, ghastly liquid, we tried all options - coffee, coffee with milk, cappuccino - but the result was awful , insulting to the taste buds. Not acceptable on any level. Eventually we realized that we could order coffee from the waiter and this was a real coffee, we had to pay for it ( 2 lev, 1 euro per cup). The breakfast had some good quality meats , salami, pork fillet, Bulgarian bacon, so it would be suitable for those who want to loose weight or stick to the Atkins diet. Eggs - boiled, scrambled,poached. Cucumber, tomato. The Wellness Center - the pools, sauna, steam room, relaxation room were supposed to open at 8 am , however at 8.30 they were still being cleaned and the sauna was not switched on, which meant that one could not have a morning swim/ sauna and then enjoy breakfast. Breakfast time was till 10 a.m. One has to chose between a morning swim/sauna or breakfast. When it comes to service - the top service we received was from staff at the Reception of Spa center. They know how to talk to people, how to be efficient, and how to smile and make it a pleasant experience. We would recommend that the rest of the staff get the same training of how to relate to hotel clients. They were often polite, but not always efficient and at times very serious ( it looked unfriendly). It is OK to smile when you serve someone's coffee. Had we been told that we were going to stay at a 3* hotel we would have written a great review for this hotel, it is this discrepancy between what is advertised and what is offered that set our expectations and we were disappointed on one hand but on the other it turned out to be overall a positive experience due to the great Wellness Center. We are not sure if we would return as it was too stressful. We travel a lot abroad, for Bulgarian people who have not experienced anything different this hotel is OK.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Balneo Hotel Saint Spas is the biggest 5 star hotel, located in Velingrad, Bulgaria, fully supplied with mineral water. Named by the area where it's situated, in the unique Chapinska river valley, among pine-tree hills, wide velvet meadows, crystal blue sky and south Rhodopean sun…the Orpheus mountain. The place itself was blessed with a special gift to heal, known even before the ancient times with its Roman and Turkish baths. Here is located the biggest mineral spring in the town - the Radonova bath, as well as one of the wonders of the Bulgarian nature – the Kleptuza Karst spring – the biggest at the Balkans. The hotel part of the complex has 79 standard rooms, 4 VIP studios and 63 luxurious apartments – attractive as design and color, with heavenly views towards the awesome Rhodope Mountains. The hotel is one of the three in the area certified as medical tourism place, nominated as the best on the Balkans. Balneo Hotel Saint Spas 5* - Where time stops surrounded by nature! ... more less
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